Taking positive actions within your sphere of control can ease climate-based anxiety

A podcast on eco-anxiety, community ‘tea and talk’ events, and social support were some of the ways Imperial marked World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day is celebrated internationally every October for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. Here’s what happened at Imperial to mark the occasion in 2019.

Ever felt anxious about the climate?

You’re not alone.

The phrase 'climate crisis' conjures images of melting ice caps, natural disasters, forced migration, and loss of crops and livelihoods - but another, less obvious side to the issue is creeping into public consciousness: climate anxiety, or ‘eco-anxiety’.

Imperial’s Dr Emma Lawrance, mental health innovations fellow at Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), explores the implications of the climate crisis for mental health.

Caroline Brogan caught up with her to discuss what it means to feel eco-anxiety, how it’s distinguished from other mental health issues, and how individuals can manage their feelings.

Don’t be afraid to turn off the news and leave social media alone for a while.Dr Emma LawranceInstitute of Global Health Innovation

Dr Lawrance said: “Anxiety and anger are natural responses to threats, so it’s no wonder the threat and reality of the climate crisis is sparking anxious, fearful reactions. We increasingly see people with sleep disturbances, obsessive thinking, and fear or anger that interferes with daily life – all for quite understandable reasons.”

On tactics to manage climate-based mental ill health, she said: “It can help to know what you can control versus what you can’t - and to take positive steps within your sphere of control. Supporting action on climate change, from cutting back on flying to making your voice heard by those in power, can help reduce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

“Don’t be afraid to turn off the news and leave social media alone for a while.”

They also touched on the other side of the climate coin: trauma caused by experiencing the effects of climate breakdown, such as natural disasters and displacement from events like droughts.

Dr Emma Lawrance

Dr Emma Lawrance says more people are sleeping badly, thinking obsessively, and feeling scared and angry due to the climate crisis.

Dr Lawrance added: “We’re dealing with a duality of issues which encompass those who fear for the future, and those who’ve already suffered trauma from climate breakdown."

Heatwaves and higher temperatures are also linked to higher suicide rates, poorer general mental health, and intensified symptoms of existing conditions. Some psychiatric medications can also make patients particularly susceptible to the physical effects of heat.

Experts say exercise, a healthy diet, quality sleep, or talking with a friend or healthcare professional can help manage symptoms of mental ill health.

Dr Lawrance is currently working at the IGHI to understand the evidence behind these issues. She’s also working with Imperial’s Grantham Institute to better inform policy based on the evidence.

Mental Health First Aiders' take

We hope (our event) helped to foster a welcoming, friendly environment...We’re only an email or phone call away.Mery FajardoMental Health First Aider

Imperial employs than 350 Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) – members of the Imperial community who are trained in help people who are experiencing mental health problems. Like traditional First Aiders, their role is to help users in crisis towards professional help, and to help keep them safe until help arrives.

For World Mental Health Day, Mery Fajardo in the Department of Physics hosted a ‘tea and talk’ day where students and staff chatted through concerns they had.

This included a post-it board where people shared their ideas for managing stress. She said: “We had some very meaningful conversations with both staff and students on how to stay Photo of a board with post-it notes attached to it. The title is 'When I am stressed I...', and each post-it note contributes a strategy for managing stress.mentally healthy – something that’s particularly important at the start of term with new students around.

“We hope this helped to foster a welcoming, friendly environment and raise the profile of the Mental Health First Aiders. We’re only an email or phone call away.”

The College has a range of services that offer support, like the Mental Health First Aiders Network, the student counselling service, and the Health and Wellbeing website.

For more information on accessing mental health support see the NHS website or visit your GP.

In a crisis, call text SHOUT to 85258, call Samaritans free on 116 123, or dial 999 if you’re in immediate danger.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page